Sena wants Pranab elected unopposed
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A day after supporting the UPA presidential candidate, key NDA constituent Shiv Sena on Tuesday came out in favour of unanimous election of Pranab Mukherjee for the top post, as against the BJP's plans for a contest. Party chief Bal Thackeray said the decision was made in "national interest", while indirectly hitting out at the NDA for "trying to show bravery without being armed".
The Sena had, late on Monday night, announced its support for Mukherjee, saying he is the "right" candidate. There was speculation over the party stand after its leaders skipped a crucial NDA meeting in New Delhi on Sunday and reports of Mukherjee calling Thackeray for his support.
In a detailed front page article in party mouthpiece Saamna signed by him on Tuesday, Thackeray made scathing observations about the political developments in New Delhi over the presidential elections without naming any political party or alliance. "This thought (supporting Mukherjee) is being expressed only in national interest. Forget the past and express support to Mukherjee unanimously and show the world "hum sab ek hai".
On the attempts by various groups, including the NDA, to forge together numbers to contest the election, he said, "When you do not have the sword in the armour, don't try to show your bravery by simply lifting the fist. No one should dare to accuse Sena of backstabbing, betraying trust, parting ways or differing. The Sena is not taking this stand because others have done similar things to the party."
On the recent political developments, Thackeray said, "The drama over the presidential election in such a large nation is not appropriate.... For political gains, nation's pride is being tarnished. Those who do not have any backing are also standing up to contest the elections. I don't want to talk much about other parties but the arrogance of some people has been exposed. Once the opportunity comes, I will not stop from tearing it apart."
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